Ipstones Avenue Children's Home, Stechford

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Date:1974 - 1992 (c.)

Description:This children's home at 50 Ipstones Avenue opened in 1974 as a purpose-built children’s home with 18 beds.

Ipstones Avenue was one of a series of nine purpose-built children’s homes which opened during 1973 and 1974. These larger homes were a move away from the purpose-built family group homes of the 1950s and 1960s.

The idea for the 18 bed children's home came from the Williams Committee recommendations for larger units. Each home was two storey and had, originally, a dining room and kitchen, a quiet room and a play room, and staff sitting and dining rooms on the ground floor. On the first floor was staff accommodation, bathrooms and children’s bedrooms – two 4-bed rooms, two 3-bed rooms and four single rooms.

While they were purpose-built, there were concerns from the start about the appropriateness of the design for use as a children’s home.

In the 1970s (certainly from 1981), the home took only boys – this may have been the case from when it opened. In 1982, the number of beds was reduced to 16, and the home became what was known as a ‘treatment unit’. Birmingham’s children’s homes had been divided into four zones – Central, South, North/East and West with each zone having a District Centre (whose role included assessment) and a treatment centre. Ipstones was the treatment centre for the North/ East zone. This structure did not last more than a few years.

The treatment units were intended to accommodate adolescents (aged 14 years and older), who would previously have been referred to a community home with education, as part of a policy to reduce the numbers of community homes with education (previously known as remand homes).

In 1990, Ipstones had children ranging from 11 years old to 16 years old.

The home was closed in 1992. According to the Express and Star at the time, the home closed after a boy climbed onto the roof and threw tiles at people below.

In 1994 or 1995, the building was knocked down and the land used for new homes.

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Image: Article from the Birmingham Evening Mail 29th August 1991
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Source: This history was compiled by the Birmingham Children's Homes Project, an initiative to explore Birmingham City Council-run children’s homes between 1949 and 1990.